Wednesday 1 February 2012

Marian Keyes and her new baking book

The best news of the week is that the brilliant Marian Keyes has written a new book - and it's out this month.

For the past two and a quarter years the bestselling Irish novelist has suffered from debilitating depression, unable, as she writes in her latest (and very moving) blog, “to get out of bed or concentrate on a sentence or motivate myself to do anything.”

But on her better days she found the one thing that appealed to her was baking cakes. In fact she found it so comforting that she started writing the recipes down, and hooray, her book on the subject (called Saved by Cake) is out in two weeks time. It’s not only an honest account of how she coped with depression but how baking helped her get through the day. As she baked and worked out the recipes, she found that little by little her depression started to lift.

Keyes has also revealed that she’s almost finished a novel – great news for her millions of fans. Part love story, part thriller, it doesn’t have a title yet but will be out in the autumn. I can’t wait to read it.
I discovered Keyes’ novels when I had to spend a month lying on my side after an eye operation. I couldn’t read, use the internet or watch TV, so to pass the time, my daughter downloaded a ton of audio books for me to listen to. The hours flew by as I worked my way through all the books Keyes had written.

I don’t know how she does it but she manages to puts a smile on your face and makes you think. All at the same time. Her books - my favourites are Last Chance Saloon and The Other Side of the Story - are warm, witty and wise. Even when she’s writing about hard-hitting subjects like divorce, depression or alcoholism, she’s never preachy or pious. Her dialogue is true to life (unlike other novelists I could mention) and her characters are utterly believable. And how can you not love a writer who comes up with cracking one-liners like “never trust a man with two mobile phones” and “there’s not much in life that can’t be fixed by cake?” As she's found out herself.

Picture: Neil Cooper

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